Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced a bill that would allow HHS to delay Medicare payments in order to give the government more time to review suspect claims.
Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a news release that Medicare's rule requiring prompt payment to providers is hindering the government's ability to make sure that claims are valid before they're paid. Medicare lost at least $60 billion to fraud, waste and abuse last year, he said.
The bill, called the Fighting Medicare Payment Fraud Act of 2009, would authorize the HHS secretary to identify vulnerabilities to bogus claims from categories of providers, services or suppliers—nationally or in particular regions—and individual providers and suppliers. The CMS would be allowed to hold those claims up to one year, rather than paying them within the customary 30 days. HHS' inspector general's office would make recommendations for which claims should be subjected to the heightened scrutiny.